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FlASH BACK TO 2014 MICHELLE TELLS WEST EXPO

Updated: May 3

About her experiences wild camping and predictions for the future!




WILD CAMPING IN CONNEMARA IS SO EXHILARATING!

Q. What makes you get up in the morning?


A. Lol. Birds! No, seriously these days I’m woken up by the swallows that are nesting outside my bedroom. When I’m not sleeping in the comfort of my bed I’m usually wild camping on the side of a mountain, and there I have also been awoken by the birds…the ravens investigating my tent! Although it has been proven that a camping trip can reset a person’s internal biological clock, so that it will be easier to wake up in the morning and feel more alert due to time exposed to natural light and less time in artificial lighting. As I spend most of my time outside working for ‘WILD’ I have no problems sleeping and waking up!!


Q. What’s your business philosophy?


A. ‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than the things that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbour. Catch the trade wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’ Mark Twain. This is something I live by.


Q. What are your biggest challenges right now?


A. From a business perspective, as a small business we don’t have a big budget for marketing right now. The strong connections we create are a firm foundation for us. Staying focused, creative and motivated, even on days when obstacles feel insurmountable and the odds are stacked against us. We have set ourselves some big challenges in the coming months which are to traverse Cuillin Ridge in the Isle of Skye and to tackle the legendary Mount Blanc in France.


Q. What makes your business unique?


A. Henry Wilkinson and I are a unique team. Together we bring a wide range of practical skills, college education and outdoor activity experience. We both share a passion for the outdoors. We pride ourselves on being good role models in the outdoor industry and aim to get more people involved.


Q. How do you unwind?


A. There are a few things that I like to do to unwind. I love animals so spending time with my dog, horse and donkey helps a lot! Lately I’m enjoying baking – to Henry’s delight! A good walk on Gurteen Bay always puts things in perspective!


Q. What’s so great about the West of Ireland?


A. What’s not to like! The scenery, remoteness, food, culture, art, people, adventure, community, rugged landscape and beautiful coastlines…. the list is endless.


Q. What’s your favourite place in the West – other than where you live!

A. Next to Connemara I would have to say the Burren – there’s definitely some magic to that region of the Clare – the naked limestone hills so packed with wildlife.. the sleepy one-tractor villages where traditional music flows from…


Q. If you could ask for more investment in any one area of the West, what would it be?


To preserve what is there… as the ancient proverb goes, ‘treat the Earth well, it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children.’ What makes the West so beautiful are the untouched areas and natural form. There is so much creativity in the West, I would love to see it being utilised more and brought through in the infrastructure. I would love to see an improvement in transport services in order to make all areas accessible to everyone.


With the surge in adventure tourism I think it would be wise to put more investment into conservation and minimise the impact on the landscape. I would like to see additional investment in programmes that allow local farmers to become the leaders in the development and delivery of critical conservation work on their farm, creating financial incentives for the delivery of their goods, such as biodiversity, clean waters, access paths, stiles, stone structure and grazing habits.


Q. Are you optimistic for the West of Ireland?

A. Yes of course, the West of Ireland will always be appreciated and people will always be drawn to it for a number of reasons. Clever marketing such as the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ makes things look very promising for the next few years in the tourism industry. This campaign is something that everyone can capitalise on. #wildatlanticway.


Q. If you could let people know about three other businesses in the West (other than your own) which would they be?


A. Steam cafe in Clifden – Alan and Claire do great work there (great coffee with a smile). Killary Sheep Farm – Tom the owner is an innovative farmer. The Brazen Hussy Boat Trips deserve a mention – Shane offers very scenic tours in style!


Find out more about ‘WILD.’ at www.wildfullstop.com

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